High Schools and Tutorial CollegeThere are more than 2,500 private schools in the UK educating children from all over the world, and like universities there is an informal ranking system for the schools based largely on the A level results that students achieve and the universities that students gain places at. As a consequence, many of the leading schools have very competitive entrance requirements with huge demand for a very limited number of places, therefore the schools can be very selective and will take the highest achievers they can.
Boarding schools have a long standing history of academic education and attract more and more international students. These schools have traditions and strict rules as well as beautiful and inspiring boarding environments. Generally they provide GCSE and A-level courses to assist students in preparing for the top universities.
Tutorial colleges are especially designed for international students. They provide more freedom but expect more independent learning from the students. The good things about tutorial colleges are that: there is no age limit; they usually have small classes and students can choose from school accommodation or homestay. Tutorial colleges provide GCSE, AS-level and A-level, pathway and foundation courses.
The main differences between Private High Schools and Tutorial Colleges in the UK are:
|Private High School||Tutorial College|
|Features||Focus on discipline and training: Students need to wear uniforms, have evening tutorials and go to bed at a certain hour every day.||Not focus on discipline: Student needn't wear uniforms and should complete their assignments by themselves.|
|Students Resource||80% - 90% students are British.||90% of students are overseas students.|
|Class Student #||Class student numbers are usually more than 20.||Small classes, usually less than 10.|
|Entry Requirement||More strict entry requirements: age and English proficiency limit.||Flexible entry requirement: no age and English proficiency limit.|
|Study Requirement||Focus on physical and spiritual development.||Few focus on physical and spiritual development.|
|Accommodation Requirement||Students need to stay in the hall of residence.||Students can choose the hall of residence or homestay.|
Monkton Combe School
Cambridge Tutors College
Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) CollegesFE and HE Colleges fulfill a similar role to that of community colleges in the USA. In Britain, a lot of FE Colleges provide comprehensive academic courses; including English, GCSEs, A levels, vocational qualifications, and some colleges also provide foundation courses and BA courses. HE Colleges usually provide undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Apart from the 98 FE Colleges there are over 150 HE Colleges in the UK. Britain has a strong history of vocational education and FE Colleges often provide more practical courses in a variety of field such as hairdressing, catering management, tourism, mechanics, business management, childcare, design, etc.
For a full list of UK FE/HE colleges, click here.
Students above 16 will be taught GNVQs before they can consider going to university. They can then complete their vocational qualifications at a university where they will be awarded a BTEC or HND qualification, which is the equivalent to the 1st and 2nd year university level. If their grades are good, they can then apply to get into the 3rd year of the university to complete a Bachelor's degree.
Compared to a traditional academic school curriculum (for example, GCSE, A level and first degree), vocational courses are more practical. These courses' evaluation standard is different too and based on daily assessments, reports and test results, which is totally different from traditional schools which are based on end of semester exams. Vocational schools may also inform students that they have passed some courses in order to release their stress. Therefore many overseas students consider obtaining their first degree with vocational qualifications. However this choice is complicated and depends on the students background. Your UKEAS counselor will be able to give you professional advice on what route best suits you.
Traditional academic degrees and equivalent vocational qualifications
|Traditional academic degrees||Vocational qualifications|
EDEXCEL First and National Diplomas
|The 1st and 2nd undergraduate year||EDEXCEL First and National Diplomas